Today I will try to address some common questions and concerns about home birth.
Does it Hurt?
Yes. I won't lie to you. Since I've never had a hospital birth, I can't compare a natural home birth to one with medication. But the pain is temporary. As soon as that baby arrives, the worst is over and the joy of seeing him/her after 9 long months of waiting is SO worth it.
A common method for pain relief/management with midwives is a crock-pot full of hot water by Mom's bedside. Several washcloths are are kept in here. These are placed on Mom's tummy during the painful contractions. It helps a lot! They call it the "midwives' epidural."
Since I have very painful back labor every single time, it helps to have my husband massage my lower back vigorously during the contractions. By the next day, I feel bruised from it, but it gets me through the labor.
What if there is an emergency?
An emergency plan is always written up long before the due date. It includes information such as preferred hospital and/or nearest hospital, primary physican's name and number, emergency contact numbers, and even childcare plans for siblings. I've know of other moms who did have to transfer to a hospital because of a complication. I've also had 4 normal births at home, and witnessed 5 of my sister's births at home, without any problems.
There is much monitoring of mom and baby in the weeks, days, hours, and minutes leading up to labor and delivery to rule out the need for a trip to the hospital. Just as with any birth, things do happen. This is why some families opt to have their babies in a birth center. Just about everything is the same, except you will travel to the birth center in labor (and need to pack a bag and find a sitter) and then leave the birth center just hours after the birth. Birth centers give many families the peace of mind they need, especially if they are located in a larger town or city with hospitals nearby.
Do you need special equipment?
No. The midwife will generally supply you with a "Birth Supply List" in time to start preparing for labor. The list will include things you already have (towels, sheets, certain food and drink items) as well as things easily purchased at the grocery or drug store (gauze pads, etc.). Everything else that is necessary will be provided by the midwife.
Is it expensive?
No. It's actually cheaper than a hospital birth. My current baby will cost about $4,000 for the entire 9 months, including prenatal care, delivery, assistant's fee, lab fees, and all post-partum care. Compared to a hospital birth, it's substantially less.
The only drawback is that many insurance companies will not cover a home birth. We haven't had insurance for the previous births. We have it now, but they will not cover the home birth. Oh, well. It is my method of choice.
What about a birth certificate?
I can't speak for every state, but here's how it works in Texas. My midwife files the form online the day of or after the birth. Within a couple weeks the social security card is mailed to us. We simply go to our local courthouse to pick up the birth certificate around the same time.
The Medical Community
This is my biggest negative: the total disdain the medical community has for midwives and home birth. It may be better in other areas of the country, but in my part of North Texas, it's hard to get any basic medical care if you declare that you hare having your baby at home with a midwife by choice.
I learned from the very first baby that an obstetrician won't touch you with a ten foot pole if you are already planning to have a home birth. They only want you to come to their office, sign a contract and start a payment plan for the entire 9 months.
My own family doctor, who I am very happy with in every other way, won't even see me for basic needs. That's why I end up in the ER for simple things like dehydration or severe nausea.
Getting a sonogram or any other testing done is much more difficult than for ladies who have babies in hospitals. We usually drive long distances for sonograms.
My midwife has discovered a very midwife-friendly doctor that she refers her clients to for basic needs. His own children were born with a midwife! He did my last sonogram, and will do my upcoming one to determine our baby's gender.
The medical establishment's uppity attitude is frustrating, to say the least, but I've learned to manage. You may recall how I feel about doctors.
If you have more questions about home birth that I haven't covered, please feel free to ask. I'll be happy to answer them in a future post. Share